State Senator Mike Skindell's Response To City Of Lakewood Press Release
In response to the article posted on the taxpayer funded website onelakewood.com pertaining to Senator Skindell’s action to enforce Ohio’s open meetings law, Senator Skindell provides the following statement:
“One of Ohio’s goals in governing as set forth in law is that public business is to be open and transparent. Lakewood officials used at least twelve “Executive Session” meetings closed to the public, to close Lakewood Hospital and steer a contract to deliver health care and to steer remaining hospital assets valued upwards to $120 million to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and another private foundation. Lakewood’s taxpayers had an interest in these assets. The closure resulted in the loss of hospital services in Lakewood, overcrowding at Fairview Hospital, the loss of more than 1,000 good paying jobs and the loss of tax revenues to the city.
The open meetings law action was not meritless. In the Court of Appeals and at the Ohio Supreme Court, there were dissenting judges who believe that the action be heard. The Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court never addressed the issue of whether the city violated Ohio’s open meetings law.
Contrary to what the politically motivated city article states, I fought to protect citizen rights and taxpayer’s assets. I am concerned that the city is using taxpayer money to post this article in an attempt to advance a particular candidate for State Representative in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 9.03. This provision of the law prohibits government from using any public funds to support or oppose any candidate for public office.
As to the cost paid by the city for defending a simple open meetings action, I question why the city paid high sums to contracted outside legal counsel when Lakewood pays salaries in the City’s law department of $350,000, including more than $110,000 to the Law Director."
State Senator Mike Skindell
Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.